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The Experience

Once your child is checked in, they are called a "Candidate." They have many skills to learn and practice before they can graduate at the end of the week. Parents quickly say goodbye, and life for the Candidate transforms for the week. They experience high levels of human interaction as they learn how to work with others in their small group. The small groups are called Patrols. Strong bonds will form. White Stag is a Youth-Led, Youth Run Program, and there is a hierarchy of Youth Staff leaders that will teach and guide each Candidate throughout the week. Adult Advisors are always in the background to ensure health and safety.

Candidates learn to manage and follow schedules,  problem solve as a group, and overcome hurdles. The day is filled with formal teaching in leadership techniques with specific activities that reinforce their newly learned skills. Candidates also learn and practice outdoor living skills such as cooking, first aid, knots, knife safety, wilderness hiking and safety, map and compass. Evenings are filled with campfire gatherings with singing, skits and fun. Each night patrols evaluate how the day went, and each person has a chance to share their thoughts through reflection. During the week, each Candidate writes a Leadership Growth Agreement. This is a project that they will complete in their home community by using the skills they learned at camp.


For most Individuals, the week is life-changing. They learn about themselves, gain confidence, learn to work with others, learn planning and evaluation skills, gain social skills, self-reliance,  and learn how to better deal with life's everyday challenges. Living in an outdoor environment and getting away from stress is good for the mind and body. The program is electronics free!  The best experience for everyone in the small group is when no one knows each other. For this reason, we generally do not put friends or family in the same small group. Friends and family of similar age and grade will be placed in the same large group.


After graduating from Phase 2 or Phase 3 as a Candidate, youth may apply to join Youth Staff for the following training season and achieve a higher level of leadership development.

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